Cultivating vibrant public places

After a short hiatus, “Downtown Programming” is back in the streets of Spartanburg’s Downtown Cultural District.

Spartanburg Cultural District“Downtown Programming” was launched with the intentions of increasing pedestrian and visitor activity, boosting residency and occupancy, attracting new creative enterprises, fostering art and performances in public places, and celebrating Spartanburg’s cultural identity. After more than 140 gigs since its inception – including 54 unique musicians and over 1,700 people stopping to enjoy music – it’s safe to say “Downtown Programming” is a hit!

During the month of August, from Wednesday through Saturday, 66 Spartanburg musicians and artists will take to the streets of the Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District to showcase their talents in the performing arts and a variety of musical genres.

“This program has become one of the best gigging opportunities in Spartanburg in my opinion. The program has done a great job of including musicians of all skill levels,” said Ian O’Donnell, one of the many downtown buskers.

As we think about vibrant public places, the SCAC is helping The Riley Center for Livable Communities spread the word about the new Riley Mayors’ Design Fellowship, which was created to help equip South Carolina mayors with the tools necessary to implement projects that have a positive impact on their communities. They can gain knowledge to improve city design and foster economic development through things like “Downtown Programming” in Spartanburg Downtown Cultural District.

But your city or town doesn’t need an officially designated cultural district for its mayor to take part.

“The Riley Mayors’ Design Fellowship is about seeking excellence and together elevating the municipalities that fuel our state,” former Charleston mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. said.

Eight mayors across South Carolina will be selected from a pool of nominees. The program culminates in a two-and-a-half day conference during which each mayor presents the challenges and opportunities of a project. From this presentation, mayors receive feedback as well as information on relevant design and planning topics from a group of expert faculty.

South Carolina is currently the only state in the nation with this type of program.

Nominations for the inaugural class are due by noon on Aug. 15. The conference takes place Feb. 20-22, 2019. A nominee should be a current mayor with at least two years remaining in his or her term as of January 2019. Self-nominations are welcome. A nominating committee will select a diverse class of mayors. Selection is based upon potential for innovative and visionary leadership, cooperative spirit and the ability to rally diverse interests around a common goal for the good of the community.

More information and the nomination form are available from the Riley Fellowship.

Feature image courtesy of Chapman Cultural Center, which contributed to the first portion of this story.